J. Harold Ellens holds a Ph.D. in Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins as well as a Ph.D. in the Psychology of Human Communications. Dr. Ellens is retired from his roles as Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, Executive Director of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Founder and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, U.S. Army Colonel and Presbyterian (PCUSA) theologian and pastor. He continues in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist and as a renowned international lecturer. Professor Ellens served in the U.S. military and still works for the armed forces a major part of each year as a contract psychologist who treats troubled returning combat veterans. He is the author or editor of 180 published volumes, the majority of which explore the interface of spirituality and psychology, and of 167 professional journal articles and reviews. He is the father of seven children. He and his wife have been married for 56 years.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XVI, November 22 – 24, 2013
Mari and the Bible: Reading the Bible Through the Eyes of Its Companion Cultures
Archaeological excavations in the Middle Euphrates Valley over the last 80 years have expanded remarkably our understanding of the history of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. That history was the setting for the Biblical cultures of the time from Abraham to Philo Judaeus, Jesus, and Flavius Josephus. The discovery of Mari with its extensive cunieform library is at the center of these developments. This presentation examines some of the new information that has come to light as a result of this discovery as well as how our current reading of our sacred scriptures is illumined, expanded, and made infinitely more colorful and lively as we read it in its contemporary context, of which Mari affords us the eyes and lenses for new vision.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XV, November 16 – 18, 2012
Sex and the Bible: The Good and Bad in This Legacy We Cannot Escape
Sexuality and spirituality are two expressions of the same vital force in every human. It has always been easy for people devoted to any Sacred Scripture to interpret its meanings and metaphors in erroneous ways, unintended by the original writers. This is what has happened to sex in the Bible. For the last 20 centuries of Western Cultural history there has been a tendency to moralize human sexuality in an exaggerated way, resulting in two nearly humorous enigmas: While the society and culture makes believe that we hold to norms of sexual decorum, most of the society constantly violates those norms and standard. Second, we have sexualized morality to such a degree that there are no other moral questions than sexual behavior. This lecture will describe the notion that we often misread the Bible on what it has to say about sex. I offer a new interpretation and a fresh understanding of sex in the Judeo-Christian scriptures as applied to real lives, and address graphically what the Bible says to us regarding the appropriate celebration of our sexuality.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XIII, November 19 – 21, 2010
Homosexuality in the Bible: The Case of David and Jonathan
For two centuries, scholars have debated whether David’s lament for Jonathan in the book of I Samuel indicates a homosexual bond between them. This presentation takes a close look this Biblical narrative within its cultural and literary context, including an examination of how the Biblical texts regard the concept of homosexuality. Is the story of David and Jonathan alluding to a homosexual relationship, or is it a reference to a deeper, but asexual, bond that is wrought by the mutual experience of shared traumatic ordeal?